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Cisco names Chambers next chairman, ups buyback

John Chambers will take over as chairman for John Morgridge; board also announces additional stock buyback.

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers will soon take on the role of chairman of the board.

On Wednesday the company's board of directors named Chambers to succeed current chairman John P. Morgridge, effective at the company's annual shareholder meeting on November 15, 2006. Chambers will retain his position as CEO.

Morgridge, who said last year he wouldn't stand for re-election to the board this year, will become chairman emeritus and will continue to focus on Cisco's charitable and education efforts.

Morgridge has served Cisco for more than 18 years, initially as CEO and, since 1995, as chairman of board. He steered the company through multiple corporate milestones, including its initial public offering in 1990.

Since Chambers became president and CEO of Cisco in January 1995, the company has grown from $1.2 billion in annual revenue to $24.8 billion for fiscal year 2005.

Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president, worldwide sales and operations. Before joining Cisco, he spent eight years at Wang Laboratories and six years with IBM.

Cisco's board also authorized up to $5 billion in additional share repurchases, raising its total buyback from a previous $35 billion. There is no fixed timetable for the buyback program.

Reuters news service contributed to this article.